By Sian Griffiths
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It remains a complete mystery and a source of considerable ignorance. It tends to be viewed, if at all, with mild detached academic interest but is not taken seriously or regarded as central to anyone's business. Such a myopic view is regrettable and probably not an option for much longer. 14 The consequences of developments in European law in areas such as health and safety, trade and competition policy are of growing importance to health policy makers at national level. It would be short-sighted to discount the potential importance of EU public health strategies on health promotion, cancer, AIDS, drug dependency, to name a few priority areas.
14 This influence will be exerted not only through obvious health-related activities but also in areas such as health and safety, trade and competition policy. All the more reason, then, to pay close attention to the European dimension and to understand how EU institutions and laws can influence public health policies in the UK. A related development is the growth of regionalisation within the EU. In the context of devolution to Scotland and Wales and moves in parts of England to develop closer partnerships at regional level between health services and the government offices for the regions and the forthcoming regional development agencies (RDAs), which will have responsibility for sustainable economic development and regeneration, the significance of a regional dimension becomes clear.
WHO, Geneva. 27 World Health Organisation, Health and Welfare Canada, Canadian Public Health Association (1986) Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. WHO, Copenhagen. Ashton J (In press) 1997 Chadwick Lecture - Is a healthy North West Region achievable in the 21st century? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 28 CHAPTER FOUR Tackling inequalities in health: public policy action Michaela Benzeval Introduction Since the influential Black Report was published in 1980, the international evidence has grown to such an extent that it is now indisputable that social and economic circumstances are the major factors influencing the public's health.